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Graham can drive Derry into final

 

New role: Shannon Graham is set for her Derry debut today
New role: Shannon Graham is set for her Derry debut today
John Campbell

By John Campbell

Shannon Graham will break new ground in what has been a hectic camogie career to date when she makes her debut for Derry in the Ulster Senior Championship semi-final against Down at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh today (3.45pm).

Graham has been an ever-present in Antrim's colours in recent years but has now transferred her allegiance to the Oak Leaf county.

Her presence in the side is viewed as a considerable boost against a Down side that includes a raft of experienced players including Paula O'Hagan, Niamh Mallon and Fionnuala Carr.

While the acquisition of Graham will add to Derry's fire-power, the fact that the team will have its Slaughtneil contingent on board further shortens the odds on their prospects of coming out on top.

Sisters Aoife and Bronagh Cassidy head up the Slaughtneil representation which lends considerable experience and power to the Derry side.

Yet Down have shown that they too possess scoring acumen. Niamh Mallon was named Ulster Camogie Player of the Year last year and her consistency in Down's colours has had much to do with the team's progress.

If she is on song today, then the Derry defence could come under pressure. Paula O'Hagan, wife of Down football skipper Darren O'Hagan, is another player who brings considerable qualities to the table.

Today's match will precede the Antrim v Tyrone Ulster senior football championship quarter final and will start at 4.00pm.

But there is disappointment that the other scheduled semi-final will not now take place because Armagh are unable to field a team to face Antrim.

It would appear that the Orchard County found themselves without key players and thus conceded the game which means that Antrim will now meet the winners of today's Derry v Down game in the final.

Belfast Telegraph

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